Back To Iceland

by Rahul Ravindran
(Mumbai, India)

Fischer reaches Iceland

Fischer reaches Iceland

This incident gives an inside view of the life of the Greatest Chess player Robert James “Bobby” Fischer. It took place in March 2005 in Iceland which was prominently considered as Fischer's Second home.

Late Thursday night, beneath a soft rain that came in off the Atlantic, Bobby Fischer and his fiancée, Miyoko Watai arrived in Iceland from a small white jet, provided by an Icelandic TV station, stepped onto the wet tarmac and officially arrived in his new homeland. He had a thick white beard and a tangle of hair and baggy blue jeans hanging on his 6-2 frame. The plane landed at the Reykjavik Airport, because Fischer did not want to step foot on the grounds of Iceland's biggest airport in Keflavik, where the U.S. has a military base. There was a crowd of maybe 250 people waiting with "Welcome home" signs, chanting his name.

In the rain, Fischer and Watai were escorted into a silver Range Rover, and taken to the Hotel Loftledir, to the same suite he stayed in when he played Boris Spassky. Later, his supporters gave him each a bouquet of flowers, and Fischer was handed his official citizenship document. While a U.S. federal grand jury continues to look into tax evasion and money laundering charges against Fischer, a federal law enforcement source said Friday "unless Fischer makes a nuisance of himself over there" in Iceland, the chances of the U.S. coming after him were slight.

Amid the lava fields and geothermal springs and radiant ribbons of light in the northern sky, the greatest chess player who ever lived is back among the free. On his first day out of detention, he went for an hour walk by the sea. He got a haircut and a beard trim from Saemi Palsson's daughter.

"He looks pretty good now," Palsson, Fischer's old friend, says, laughing.

Fischer is in a place where the water is pure, the air pristine, and where he is still revered as the king of chess, even though he never plays the traditional game any longer, only Fischer Random Chess, in which the back row pieces are shuffled before every game, into 960 possible combinations.

Bobby Fischer has never had a job other than playing chess, and spent most of his life wanting to conform to his own rules. For the first time in nearly nine months, he can do as he pleases.

"We are hoping this will be another chapter in his life, that he will start a new and different life and lifestyle in Iceland," Einar Einarsson says. "We are hoping it is a quieter chapter, living with Miyoko, but with Bobby Fischer that remains to be seen — as always."

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